Thursday, July 12, 2007

Modern-Day Court Lynching; Jena Louisiana

Justified or not, whenever I see a headline that has a number as a suffix, as in "Jena Six" alarm bells go off.

And it wouldn't the recent case of the "Duke Three" that sets the bells to ringing, you see we have had one or two cases of miscarriage of justice ourselves, we have had the "Guilford Four" the "Bridgewater Four" and our very own six, the "Birmingham six."

So don't be thinking you have the injustice market sown up, you don't, not at all at all.
What you might have however is the monopoly on Blatant injustice, the one with the capital B, because let's face it these Klansmen down in Scrotumville (Jena) Louisiana could give George W lessons in "Fuck You."

In truth this isn't a case I have been following, not deliberately so, just unaware of it before today.
So I'm not going to try and bring you lots of background but it's not hard to pick up the gist in this case of judicial skulduggery.

Let us first hear a couple of snippets from the father of Mychal Bell. who already has been convicted of aggravated battery and conspiracy to commit aggravated battery.

MARCUS JONES: (father) I was furious and real mad about the conviction, ’cause I know that it was wrong. I know my son is innocent of the charges that the DA put on him, and it's just wrong. You know, this is just a 2007 modern-day court lynching here.

Now I wouldn't be knowing the occupation of Mister Jones but he sounds quite knowledgeable the subject of Southern Justice, if you are delusional enough to name it that.

.......the judge had called all the witnesses up front. So he put me and my son’s mother on the witness list, not informing us that he was going to do that. Now, what made him do that? I don't know. But right then and there, we smelled a rat. So the judge had put a gag order on all the witnesses, where they couldn't be present in the courtroom, couldn't talk to the press, couldn’t talk to nobody outside court room about the case. So right then and there, we -- I mean, you know, we smelled a rat then.
AMY GOODMAN: (Democracy Now) And were you called up to testify?
MARCUS JONES: No, no, no, no.
AMY GOODMAN: So you couldn't speak about the case, and you were kept out of the trial?
MARCUS JONES: Yes, the whole while. We was allowed -- only time we was allowed back in the courtroom, when the verdict came back........
MARCUS JONES: ’Cause he wanted Mychal to take a plea. Well, see, you’ve got to remember, any time a plea bargain be thrown on the table for any man here in LaSalle Parish, that person is innocent. Here in LaSalle Parish, whenever a black man is offered a plea bargain, he is innocent. That’s a dead giveaway here in the South..........

Then Goodman talks to Jordan Flaherty, a New Orleans Journo and editor who broke the original story.

..........AMY GOODMAN: Paint a picture of Jena for us.......
JORDAN FLAHERTY:.........There’s the system of justice for white folks in Jena and for black folks in Jena, just as there is a system for folks like Scooter Libby, ( I think Libby's name is going to be quoted in many a courthouse for many a year. me) who gets his sentence commuted by the Bush administration, and then there’s the sentence for everybody else that doesn’t have the personal favors, that doesn’t have the white system of justice and the power structure behind them.
AMY GOODMAN: Aggravated battery, what Mychal Bell was charged with, has to have a dangerous weapon in Louisiana under Louisiana law. Explain the weapon, Jordan.
JORDAN FLAHERTY: Tennis shoes. They were using his sneakers. And, you know, remember, this was originally attempted murder, and then they lowered it to aggravated battery...........

.........And Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate of any state in the US. If Louisiana were a country, it would have the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world.........
........and 90% of the people in that prison will die in that prison. And that’s, you know, what we’re seeing in prisons all around Louisiana. It’s not about reform. It’s not about rehabilitation. It’s about people being sent there to die.......

I think you get the idea, it's a read of a fair length but it's certainly educational, or there is streaming audio here.
Lynching image from disturbing.

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